IT hiring goes multimedia

Goodbye, boring curriculum vitae. Today's tech resumes are tricked out with video, social and graphic elements.

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Nandan recently worked with Neeraj Uppal, an IT project manager who had made a video in which he talked about his background. The Hire IT People staff used the video to evaluate Uppal and were impressed enough to recommend him to a client company. That led to the conventional application process, with Uppal sending a text resume, then interviewing and getting the job, a contract position.

"I don't know if he was hired based [only] on the video, but it made an impression," Nandan says. "It gets people's attention. If I get 50 emails, and there's one that says, 'Please watch my video,' I will watch the video first."

Video can also function as a second chance for IT hopefuls whose resumes might otherwise be rejected by scanning software looking for specific keywords to quickly -- if not always accurately -- match people's qualifications with open positions. Those candidates might be able to catch a hiring manager's eye with a well-crafted video pitch (see box, below).

Video Interviews, Pros and Cons

Video is more than just a resume enhancer; it's playing a larger part in the entire hiring process. For example, many companies now conduct first-round interviews via Skype or other videoconferencing technologies, rather than holding in-person meetings, to save time and money while still getting a sense of candidates' interpersonal qualities.

Some companies also screen candidates by asking job applicants to record and submit videos in which they answer specific questions. "That's where I've seen a greater evolution on the video side, because the convenience factor is tremendous," says Dan Pollock, a senior vice president at tech staffing firm Modis.

Modis acts as a middleman in the video screening process. Typically, a hiring company comes up with five to 10 questions and passes them on to Modis, which invites candidates to its offices to record videos in which they answer the questions. Some candidates choose to record the videos on their own, but Pollock says Modis can ensure that the audio and visual quality are up to par when it handles the recording. The firm uses a hosted system from HireVue that allows Modis to set a time limit for each response (three minutes) and control the number of retakes (one).

Hiring managers can then view the videos at their convenience. "It's much more tailored to the position that they're trying to fill," Pollock says, adding that the videos also show hiring managers whether candidates know their stuff, can think on their feet and can communicate concisely.

Others say video interviews -- either live or prerecorded -- help hiring mangers winnow out candidates who might have Googled answers during phone interviews, as well as those who lack interpersonal skills, which are important for IT professionals who interact with customers, corporate executives or the public.

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